PTS 04/025: Who’s Your Daddy?

BH who's your daddy
Ponytail Shakespeare:  The Taming of the Shrew, Act V

When I was about 8, I vividly remember having a competition with a lad called David, who shortly afterwards moved to Australia.  The competition took place in school and could have been called:  Let’s see who can piss the highest against the wall.”  David won.  I moved on.

But many boys and men never really graduate from that game – they just play variations on it, like:

  • I’ve got further with a girl than you have;
  • the girls who like me are hotter than the ones who like you; then, once they’re older
  • remind me what you drive again; and
  • who’s your daddy?

I also get, by the way, the occasional sneering “But Shakespeare didn’t even write those plays.”  Never backed up by evidence.  Never by anyone who has actually read the plays themselves.  But they drive better cars than me (not difficult, since I don’t drive), so they must be right, surely?  You are NOT my daddy.  But you ARE a ‘three-inch fool‘, to quote this play.

Overall, The Taming of the Shrew is in many places an embarrassing reminder that ‘laddishness’ hasn’t changed in at least 400 years – that men are constantly pissing up the wall against each other.  No more obviously than in Act 5.

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Can you overdose on Shakespeare?

BH will kempe
Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t how we teachers spend our time once the exams are over …

‘Give me excess of it, that surfeiting,

The appetite may sicken and so die.’

(DUKE ORSINO:  Twelfth Night, I.i.2-3)

So, as we enter the final stretch, you’d think that we teachers would be winding down, right?  Imitating Will Kemp in his warm up for his ‘Nine Days’ Wonder‘, by cavorting up and down the corridors of the English block in carefree abandon, greeting fellow English teachers with a hearty ‘hey, nonny nonny!‘ as we pass their empty classrooms?

Not a bit of it, sadly.  Whilst our exam classes have donned their gladrags and tottered off into the distance on their improbable high heels (and that’s just the boys, obviously), we’re left with end-of-year assessments for everyone else, which naturally have to be turned around pretty damn quickly.

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PTS 04/023: Is that you, baby?

BH bruce springsteenOr just a brilliant disguise?

… as The Boss might remark. A guy who, perhaps appositely in the light of this post, I admire for his authenticity as much as his music.

The Taming of the Shrew: Act III

By now, I wonder if anyone is who they say they are in this play. Poor old Christopher Sly‘s been conned into thinking he’s a Lord with a young, beautiful wife, remember: and that was BEFORE the play properly started … When I see the Stage Direction:

“Enter LUCENTIO [as Cambio], HORTENSIO [as Licio] and BIANCA”

(who I suspect is not as pure, dutiful, or even as nice as she seems), my heart sinks a little.

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What country, friends, is this?

BH castle-dracula
The hotel didn’t look like this in the brochure … !

Subtitled:  Vampire hunting in Shakespeare …

Five down, one to go.  The end of the penultimate half-term of the school year brings a sense of giddy euphoria.  And, just for once, I’m actually having a holiday … I’ll be spending next week in Transylvania.  This is the final instalment of a ‘Dracula’ pilgrimage which has seen me move eastwards: from actually being quite scared at the Bram Stoker museum in Dublin; to standing in schoolboyish excitement on the beach at Whitby, on the spot where the Demetr would have grounded, vomiting Dracula onto the shore in the form of a huge black dog; and now to the Carpathians

Has this got anything to do with Shakespeare?  Shouldn’t I just blog about this somewhere else?

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PTS 04/018 It’s Not You … It’s Me

BH christopher sly

The Taming of the Shrew (Induction)

For a while now, it’s been a vague ambition of mine to catalogue, mind map, or in some other way classify Shakespeare’s comedy, both in the comedic plays and elsewhere.  In doing so I AM mindful (for those who know their SF) of the Asimov short, ‘Jokester’ (1956), where finally getting an answer as to why humans laugh results in humour dying forever …

Still, I’m always and increasingly drawing intertextual links between and beyond Shakespeare’s plays, and this is what strikes me about what Arden calls the ‘Induction’ – the Christopher Sly frame.  It’s a cousin, maybe an ancestor, of the Rabelaisean idea of ‘Carnival’ that appears later on in:

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PTS01/005: Where’s a night-tripping fairy when you need one?

bh-talbot-in-battleO, that it could be proved

That some night-tripping fair had exchanged

In cradle-clothes our children where they lay,

(KING HENRY IV:  Henry IV 1, I.i.85-87)

Henry VI 1:  Act IV

Talk about someone having ‘greatness thrust upon them’!

O, Henry, Henry, Henry … Continue reading “PTS01/005: Where’s a night-tripping fairy when you need one?”

‘Art any more than a steward?’

subtitled thus:

Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale? (Twelfth Night)

Allow me to introduce the non-Redditors amongst you to the Democratic People’s Republic of R/Literature.  When you get there, it sounds great, doesn’t it?

Welcome to /r/literature, a community for deeper discussions of plays, poetry, short stories, and novels. Discussions of literary criticism, literary history, literary theory, and critical theory are also welcome–strongly encouraged, even.

and yet, all this fancy aspirational stuff doesn’t really mean a thing.  Read the following from the bottom up.

BH Censorship.jpg
Note to u/DiggDejected: you are NOT Donald Trump, so why attempt to restrict my free and not-really-that-controversial-at-all speech?  In any event, ‘Mein Trumpf’ uses Twitter, not Reddit.  PS:  ‘YOU can still view and subscribe to my ass’ whilst I await your reply.

This is, in many ways, one of the reasons why I started blogging …

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